situational awareness

You’ve probably heard someone somewhere say “you need to be more aware” but what does this mean and how do you actually do it? Similar to our article on the Power of Visualisation, situational awareness techniques are used to protect yourself before a threat takes place. You need to be more self-aware, more cognizant of your surroundings and take serious note of any irregularities. 

It’s perfectly fine to go to self-defence classes and prepare yourself for when you’re in a dangerous situation but what if you could avoid the situation entirely and not have to protect yourself in the first place? Situational awareness is a crucial self-defence skill in itself. It can successfully get you out of danger and help you avoid confrontation.

You can train yourself to be more aware, there is no need for a class or instructor. You are perfectly capable of training your mind to perceive the world a little differently and more intuitively. With some tips and tricks, you will quickly master the art of situational awareness.  

Situational awareness definition 

According to Security Adviser, “situational awareness is the use of the sensory system to scan the environment. The purpose of this is to identify threats in the present or to project those threats into the near future”.

Simply put, situational awareness consists of learning specific techniques that enable you to become keenly aware of the environment you’re in so that you can identify potential threats that may arise. 

How can situational awareness be improved?

If you feel like you have no idea how to master situational awareness, there is no need to panic. You can improve your own situational awareness in a few steps and with practice. 

There are many ways to improve your awareness but we’ve isolated these at the top 3:

  1. Start by isolating the foreground, middle ground and background of your environment.
  2. Develop your intuition by observing internal changes. Start by noticing things that aren’t out of the norm or unusual from what you’re used to. 
  3. Deny one of your senses. By removing one sense, your other senses are heightened, enabling you to pick up things you previously wouldn’t have been able to. 

Improving your awareness techniques 

Your mind and your senses are your best ally in a variety of situations. This is how you can hone in on using them to your full advantage.  

Sensory awareness

  1. Stop: when you enter a new location and while you’re out and about, you need to stop. Take in your surroundings and think about the following:
  • Who is around you, are they moving and who is standing still? 
  • What do you hear close to you and what sounds register in the distance? 
  • Are there any specific smells in the area? 
  • What is the temperature like against your face and arms? 
  • Is there anything in the environment that strikes you as out of the ordinary, or doesn’t seem to belong?  

By doing this, you are using all of your senses to take in your environment. You have also taken the time to actively acknowledge your surroundings which increases your situational awareness. 

2. Look for something new every day:  as you go about your daily routine and follow the same route to work or as you stop off at the same places, try to spot something new each day that you have never noticed before. 

This will train you to be more conscious of your surroundings, reminding you to actively take note of possible irregularities. 

3. Be aware of sound: note that your sense of hearing tells you about distance. You can judge what might be happening near to you or further away.

4. Explore the darkness: this might sound a little odd but another tip is to become a  nighttime predator in your own home. Turn off all the lights and navigate from room to room. You will discover that this is a multi-sensorial exercise. Touch, hearing and special sensations become amplified. The more you do this, the more you comfortable you’ll feel when your sense of sight is taken from you or when you’re out during the night. 

When considering your sensory awareness, remember your senses of proprioception, balance and kinaesthesia which tell you about movement and space. Which also provides unseen but necessary information. 

Mindful awareness 

As the day marches on, we get lost in our thoughts 

At some time during our day, we may think of an event that took place in the past. At other times in the day, our minds may project into the future. This could be a useful exercise like scenario planning. However, not all future thoughts are useful.

Worry is a common future projection. Our mental space is engrossed with horrors of what might happen. Stress and anxiety, both of which are products of worry, reduce awareness. Criminals are drawn to people who are in this state. It may be wise to change your thought process to be more present, especially during daily errands or while travelling. 

Sometimes our minds focus on the immediate present. Our minds are alert and tuned into our direct space. Our senses absorb the environment. Intuitive feelings are produced compelling us to act against danger or toward delight. Psychologists nowadays call this mindfulness. This is the ideal state of mind to be in to ensure you can detect potential threats and protect yourself in dangerous situations. 

You are far more capable than you think you are. Your senses, your mind and your gut instincts provide you with all the intel and ammunition you need to protect yourself. But if you feel you may need more protection or advice about how to amplify your safety and security, please contact us.